Despite its small size, Nepal is situated between China and India and is home to some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Its varied terrain, hospitable population, and rich heritage make Nepal an ideal location for travelers. While some visitors are drawn to the mountains, others are drawn to the cultural, historical, and spiritual sites.
If you are planning a visit to Nepal and are still determining which places to visit, here are the top 8 tourist attractions in Nepal. Based on location, I would personally recommend the following:
1. The Mount Everest
Mount Everest, also known as Sagarmatha, is primarily renowned for drawing many climbers, including experienced mountaineers, as it is the highest peak in the world at 8,848 meters. The standard route to the summit approaches from the southeast in Nepal, while the north route approaches from the north in Tibet.
Although many tourists are attracted to the peak due to its height, there are also various popular activities that tourists can participate in here. However, activities on Everest are known to be some of the most challenging and adventurous experiences, such as
- Yak safaris
- Mountain climbing
- Skiing, camping
- Water rafting and
- Everest Base Camp trekking.
2. Phewa lake
The Phewa lake is a beautiful and serene oasis at the base of the Himalayan foothills. Visitors to Pokhara, Nepal, often visit the lake to enjoy its peaceful atmosphere and stunning mountain views.
In addition to its natural beauty, Phewa lake is also an important cultural landmark. It is home to the iconic temple of Barahi, which is dedicated to the Hindu goddess of water. The lake is a popular spot for boating, and its shores are lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops. Whether you’re looking to enjoy some time in nature or soak up some local culture, Phewa lake is the perfect place to do it.
3. Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many historical landmarks. The square is full of temples, museums, and palaces, making it the perfect place to learn about Nepal’s rich culture and history.
One of the most popular landmarks in the square is Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The palace was built in the 16th century and was the home of Nepal’s royal family until the 19th century. Today, it is open to the public as a museum. Another popular landmark is Kasthamandap, a temple that was built in the 12th century out of a single piece of wood.
4. Boudhanath Stupa
The largest stupa in Nepal, known as the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet, recognizes Boudhanath Stupa. Situated in Boudha in the eastern part of Kathmandu, folklore claims that the stupa was constructed in the 14th century, shortly after the death of Buddha. It is a well-known attraction for tourists in Nepal. Among many sites in Boudhanath temple, tourists are most attracted to Tamang Gompa monastery, Ghyoilisang Peace Park, Kopan Monastery, and temple stores.
It is situated at Boudhanath Sadak in Kathmandu valley. The best time to visit this place would be in the morning as it is less crowded.
5. Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is a must-see historical attraction in Kathmandu. Like Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square is located in the city center and was historically the royal palace of the Patan kings. It is a tourist attraction because the site is a mix of royal structures, elegant courtyards, and graceful pagoda temples, displaying Newari architecture during the reign of the Malla kings.
One of the finest examples of Hindu temple architecture in Nepal, the Krishna Temple, built in the 16th century, is the main attraction of this place. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the Krishna Temple boasts 21 golden pinnacles.
Many other temples and palaces exist in the square, including the Bhimsen Temple, the Mahaboudha Temple, the Kumbheswar Temple, and the Sundari Chowk. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Nepal’s most popular tourist destinations.
6. Pashupati Nath Temple
Pashupatinath Temple to known to be the holy place for all the Hindus in Nepal. In this place, tourists can wander around the temple to admire the fine structure of the temple, meet holy men and get to know more about Hindu culture. They also perform open cremations at the Pashupatinath temple, located on the Bagmati river, also known as a holy river of Hindus. Nepalese people go to this place to worship Lord Shiva.
Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, situated on the city’s eastern outskirts, near the Boudhanath stupa and the Tribhuvan International Airport, spreads over an area of 280 hectares. The temple complex surrounds by several smaller temples, shrines, ashrams, and Ghats (bathing places).The main temple is a two-story structure with a gold-plated roof and four silver doors.
The temple complex also has several shrines and temples dedicated to other Hindu deities, such as Ganesh, Parvati, and Krishna. Many Sadhus (holy men) living in the temple complex have renounced the material world and lived a life of asceticism.
7. Swayambhunath Temple (Monkey Temple)
Nestled atop a hill in Kathmandu, the Swayambhunath Temple is one of Nepal’s most iconic landmarks. The temple complex is home to a stunning stupa, as well as a plethora of shrines and statues. Buddhist devotees come from all over to worship at the temple, and the site is also popular with tourists.
The stupa at Swayambhunath is said to contain the ashes of the Buddha, and it is one of the most important sacred sites in Nepal. The beautiful complex is an excellent example of Nepalese architecture, offering breathtaking views of the city below. Whether you are a religious pilgrim or a curious tourist, a visit to the Swayambhunath Temple is sure to be a memorable experience.
Lumbini is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Nepal. The site is significant because it is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became the Buddha. The main attraction at Lumbini is the Maya Devi Temple, which houses a sacred pond where Maya Devi is said to have bathed before giving birth to Siddhartha Gautama.
Other important site features include the Ashoka Pillar and the carved stone reliefs of the Birth of the Buddha. Lumbini is also home to several monasteries and temples, as well as a museum and research center. Hundreds of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims worldwide come to Lumbini to pay homage to the Buddha’s birthplace.
As we have discussed the top places, let’s know a few things about the popular cities of Nepal:
So, the question is, what are the popular cities in Nepal?
Nepal has six metropolitan cities and eleven sub-metropolitan cities. Among them, the most popular tourist attraction is Kathmandu city and Pokhara city.
The capital of Nepal and the largest metropolitan city, Kathmandu is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas and a popular tourist destination in its own right. Kathmandu city has a rich history, dating back over 2,000 years, and is home to many shrines, temples, and stupas that attest to its religious importance.
But it’s not all ancient history; the city is also a bustling metropolis with a contemporary feel. From its lively markets to its food stalls serving up delicious local cuisine, Kathmandu city offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to explore Nepal’s past or experience its present, Kathmandu city is the perfect place to start your journey.
The second most popular tourist attraction after Kathmandu is Pokhara. It is located in the Annapurna Mountain range and offers a variety of outdoor activities, as well as the Annapurna base camp trek. You can go on an outdoor adventure to this city and enjoy exploring the city there.
Because it is among the highest cities, it serves as the starting point for many famous treks. The town’s standout feature is its Lakeside, a perfect destination for boating, surrounded by charming shops, dreamy cafés, and restaurants.
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There are many sacred and important religious sites in Nepal. These include the Pashupatinath Temple, the Swayambhunath Temple, and the Lumbini birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama. Each site is significant to Hindus, Buddhists, and other pilgrims worldwide.
Visit one of these amazing places if you are interested in learning more about Nepalese culture and religion.